Quidditch, a sport in its own right

Throughout the weekend, Billy hosts, with the Fortress of wizards, an event popular with lovers of the Harry Potter universe. In the setting of the ruins of a 13th century castle, young and old alike put themselves in the shoes of the orphan sorcerer. But below the building, far from the hustle and bustle, a funny sight attracts the crowd.The Quidditch pitch, at the foot of the fortress of Billy (Allier).
And for good reason, we discover cranks playing a kind of dodge ball with a stick between the legs. Do not panic, these merry men practice quidditch, a sport straight out of the mind of JK Rowling, the creator of Harry Potter.

Practiced in more than forty countries

In the universe of the wizard with the scar, quidditch is the flagship sport. The equivalent of football in our world, that of muggles, non-wizards. At work, Harry practices quidditch. Securely attached to his broom several tens of meters above the ground, he must, as a team, score points by throwing balls, the quaffle, through three rings while avoiding being caught by the opposing defense. However, in real life, gravity exists and players do not leave the ground. Yet the fervor is the same.

“It’s a mix of handball, dodgeball and rugby”

Alice Perronet (Secretary of the French federation and member of the Lyon club)

Launched in 2005 in the United States, quidditch is now a sport in its own right. Once popular only with fanatics, it has grown and evolved to attract other audiences. In France, about fifteen clubs compete each year for the national title and challenge the rest of the muggle world in international competitions.

Harry Potter magic back in Billy (Allier) this weekend

Invited to Billy by the organization, the Lyon Crookshanks club put on a show and introduced or rediscovered this very real sport.

“A sport full of values”

“It’s a mixture of handball, dodgeball and rugby, explains Alice Perronet, secretary of the French federation and member of the Lyon club. Like the discipline invented by the British author, players must move a broom between their legs.

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Harry Potter introduced millions of children to reading. Today, quidditch introduces many people to the practice of the sport.

“The first 18 minutes, the teams evolve to six and only score thanks to the quaffle. Then, the receiver comes into play to try to recover the snitch, hanging from the referee, without being caught by the opposing defense. This is the position occupied by Harry. If he catches it, it’s thirty points for his team and often victory, ”explains Alice, from Varennes-sur-Allier. “It’s a physical and reflective sport. You have to be a strategist and communicate a lot, ”adds Denis Jourdan, vice-president of the Parisian club.Initiations for young and old are offered during the event.

Far from the fantasy world, today’s quidditch wants to transmit good vibes. “It’s a sport full of values. Mutual aid, fair play, inclusion, equality”, lists Alice. Denis Jourdan adds: “Harry Potter introduced millions of children to reading. Today, quidditch introduces many people to the practice of the sport. The bet is on the way to being successful”.

Did you know ? Due to copyright issues, quidditch as a sport is going to have to change its name. Indeed, Warner Bros, the production company for the Harry Potter films, is asking for the gradual cessation of the use of the term from the imagination of British author JK Rowling.
Quidditch will henceforth be called quad ball.

In pictures: The magical world of Harry Potter invades Billy (Allier) for a weekend

Nathan Marliac
Photos Corentin Garault